Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day 66: Snakes!

May 12: Amanda dropped me back on the trail at around 9:00, which wasn’t too bad considering I had come in from town. Towns can be hard to escape. =)

Amanda is in the area again!

At the first shelter of the day, just a mile or so into my day’s hike, I found a brand new water bottle filled with water. Nobody else was at the shelter and the bottle wasn’t a cheap or disposable thing. I had one just like it at home and knew that as far as water bottles go, it was a fancy one! Under the assumption that whoever forgot it would like it back, and that most hikers were heading northbound (at least among thru-hikers, we were), I picked it up and carried it with me. I didn’t even empty the bottle of the heavy water. If I did catch up with the owner of the bottle, it might be because I found their body on the side of the trail and they were dying of thirst! Anyhow, I was slackpacking, so my pack wasn’t all that heavy to begin with. A little extra water wouldn’t hurt.

Amanda had also brought a change of clothes for me to wear so I could leave my dirty ones behind, but she brought a rather heavy, dark, long-sleeved shirt which after about an hour of hiking, I had to take off. It was just too hot for it. And worse for me, the trail often crossed into open areas. Since I was slackpacking, I left my toiletries bag behind and had no sunscreen to wear. Most of the trail was in shade, but I was concerned that enough of it wasn’t that I might get a sunburn on my arms. Heat stroke or sunburn… tough choice, but I went with the sunburn option. Hopefully it wouldn’t even come to that, however!

In unrelated news, I was a bit amused when I arrived at the camp store for the Loft Mountain Campground to find it closed. They were renovating the building or something—it was all torn up! The part that amused me was that it was also closed during my thru-hike twelve years earlier—is this store ever open?! The last time I passed by, it was during a fierce storm that knocked out power to most of the park so they were closed for the day. Different reason, but seriously, what are the chances of the same store being closed both times I hiked passed twelve years apart?

I carried the water bottle for most of the day, never finding its owner. Amanda was to pick me up just before another shelter, however, so I passed the bottle off to Gold Bond to keep it heading north and hopefully find an owner. He had no intention of carrying it while it was full of water and dumped it out. Which was fine by me… the longer I went without finding an owner, the less likely I’d find an owner at all. Whoever it was, they had to have gotten water somewhere else by now!

Amanda picked me up at the end of the day at Smith Roach Gap. As I feared, I did suffer a small sunburn from all of my bare-armed hiking. Not ideal, but at least it wasn’t severe. We decided to drive into Harrisonburg for the night since Waynesboro was getting to be quite a lengthy drive. We checked into a Motel 6 and went out for Mexican for dinner. Life is good! =)





The camp store at the Loft Mountain Campground was looking a little torn up!

I remember hanging out under this covered area to get out of the rain during my first thru-hike, and the door was shut and locked with a note saying they had closed for the day due to a power outage. The door was open now, but there was definitely no goods for sale this time through either!



Wolverine stopped to eat lunch here, but the wind was so strong, it nearly blew his tortilla away. So I had him hold it up in the wind to get this photo of it flapping in the wind.

The last paragraph of this informational sign boasts that Shenandoah National Park hosts 95 miles of the AT and the trail crosses Skyline Drive 28 times. A whopping twenty-eight times! Frankly, I consider that a design error of the AT (which should be a wilderness experience), and the powers that by seem to be boasting that it crosses this road so many times. It shouldn’t be crossing roads that often!




Amanda, waiting for me at the end of the day’s hike! =)


Anonymous said...

The question becomes, which was there first? Did the trail cross the road or was the road actually crossing the trail that many times.

Don't Panic!

Ryan said...

The trail came first. They had to reroute most of the trail through the Shenandoahs after the road was built because they basically built the road on top of the old trail!